Waleed Abdalati is the director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, a professor in the university’s Department of Geography, and the former chief scientist at NASA. CIRES, established through a cooperative agreement the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, focuses on understanding the Earth system and its components, as well as the human relationship with our environment. In 2011 and 2012 he took a leave of absence from the university to serve as the chief scientist at NASA. In this role he oversaw the full portfolio of NASA science activities and served as advisor on agency science matters to the NASA administrator and leadership. His research has focused on the study of polar ice cover using satellite and airborne instruments, and he has led or participated in nine field and airborne campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic. During his initial tenure at NASA from 1998 to 2008 he held a variety of positions in areas including scientific research, program management, scientific management, and mission science oversight. Before joining NASA, he worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry. His technical and scientific expertise is complemented by considerable experience communicating with the public, the media, and NASA sponsors and stakeholders.